Production Weeks 1 & 2
The first step in the production of our pop up station was the assignment of roles. I, from the off, wanted to present but was concerned that I had done a lot of this on previous modules and was prepared to take up a role elsewhere if this were to be a problem. I played with the idea of taking on the role of editor, pitching to the class with Matthew and Mary also going up for the role. It became apparent to me that although I would have liked the challenge and think I could have been well disciplined when it came to managing and critiquing the overall content, Mary was much better suited to the idea of cookery as well as the target demographic. In the end I think the decision by the class to assign the roles the way they did was beneficial to the team as a whole because it meant that the three of us were able to maintain a strong position in the roles for which we had previous experience: I as a presenter and Matthew as a producer.
But before I could be confirmed as a presenter for Bite, we conducted a couple of auditions for the role with various pairings being tried out for the style and connection that would work best. After Kaylee and I had tried some links on and off script, prepared by the production team, it was confirmed soon after that we were to present the main bulk of the three hours show with Billy helping present the OB. We will also have a few correspondents as part of food news segments and packages produced by members of the class. Kaylee and I spent a bit of time in the first couple of weeks practising links and features to get a feel for what they sounded like on air and how we would improve as a duo before our pilot weeks.
I also spent time working with various other teams aiding the production of show content and ideas. This meant working alongside the producers of all three hours of the show, Rhys, Holly and Matthew brainstorming features, competitions and interactive content that would work best on-air alongside the predetermined themes as well as gain the most listener interaction. We also spent a lot of time discussing the ways in which Kaylee and I would be able to display and maintain successful presenter chemistry throughout the discussions and features. This involved producing ideas such as Right or Wrong and the method for giving away the prizes throughout the show by having Kaylee ask questions and get clues for the listeners who have to tweet in with what food item I’m thinking of. We thought this was a nice, simple idea that, if chosen correctly, enabled a semi-difficult but entirely possible game for which every listener had the chance to guess and win.
These two feature ideas in particular worked well in practice too because we were able to create a long list of things for me and Kaylee to disagree about and have funny opinionated discussion on in a way that resonated with the audience as well as created a sense of reoccurring content that carried on past the shows we would actually be doing once a week.
As well as this, I dipped in and out of working with Jason and Jay on how best to determine the music policy, gauging whether our food-themed songs should be featured in the A B or C list alongside what kind of songs would best fit our theme as well as the overall station sound. Kaylee and I also helped in the creation of the clocks determining our balance of music to speech.
For our first pilot, Kaylee and I presented the first two hours in the talk studio being tech opped by Holly with the last hour being more song heavy we swapped to me driving the desk. This was originally for a fear of a whole music hour being tech opped by someone other than the presenters being unnecessarily difficult and sounding less fluid. However, after trying this for the first time, we finished the show with an immediate sense that something didn’t work. It became clear that we must pick between being tech opped from another studio for the whole three hours or for the presenters to drive the desk for the entirety of the show. Overall, after a couple of meetings with the production team we decided that for the benefit of the sound and vibe of the show, it would be driven by Holly. This was in order to avoid a change in style not only for the presenters but also the way that the show was driven with me naturally sounding different when in control of the desk as well as levelling everything much higher. It was originally thought that this might suit the final hour but in the end, I’m glad it was agreed otherwise as I think the flow of the show will sound much better.
I was also tasked by Rhys to create a package for world food week going through some of the most interesting world foods around. I spent about a day writing, recording and editing together the package of around 3 mins to use in the show.
Pilot Week 2
Implementing the studio set up and acting on the notes given off the back of our first pilot improved our second immensely. The flow between the presenters was definitely better and we were able to create a more fun sounding show that had a lot of good content as well as an overall smooth sound. Kaylee and I writing our own scripts made the show a lot better also, able to work around them and improvise accordingly. We were also encouraged off the back of feedback from Matthew and the class that we should be challenging our guests much more, playing devil’s advocate and not being afraid to interrupt and stretch our guests with the topic of the interviews. This will be implemented in coordination with the fact that we have made the decision that in order to better script the shows, the job of writing them will be handed over to the presenters so that we can not only be more aware of the content and how we will approach each item but also so that it can sound more natural and idiosyncratic.
Live Week 1
Throughout the week I spent a while writing and editing the script for the show, splitting this equally with Kaylee and having it checked and updated by Rhys and Matthew before the show. This meant that any changes could be made in time taking into account any last minute changes of the running order. This largely fell down to songs being changed or moving the guests around. The morning consisted of not only script editing but also lots of practice in the studio with Kaylee going over links and parts of the script that we needed to improve. We also ran through many elements of the show with Rhys and Holly to make sure that as much of it was as smooth as possible; especially focussing on the links into interviews and talk ups to the songs.
Before the show, Kaylee and I spent some time with Pulama recording online content trailing and promoting the show as well as going through the script and ensuring that all of our calls for action etc were made note of and the social media team could act accordingly. Afterwards, we recorded the intro for the podcast as well as another online feature called ‘What the Food’ that would be posted during the week.
Live Week 2
Live show number 2 consisted of similar activities throughout the week, writing and editing scripts alongside reading and going over any notes that we had had from previous shows in order to work out where we could improve. The places that needed to be better involved a tighter level of teamwork between production presenting and social media teams in order to ensure that the content posted online throughout the show was even more tightly knit with the on-air content. Kaylee and I again spent time practising and going over the scripts as well as ensuring that everything made sense and that we were acting on all feedback given to us previously.
Live Week 3
Same again this week, including script editing and improvement ensuring that the menu and opening links weren’t too long or repetitive, even more, work with the social media side of the show. We arrived earlier than normal to make use of the morning to practice as well as pre-record an interview with one of our contributors. This allowed us to spend more time finalising the preparations as well as to record the social media menu etc with Pulama. Overall, I think that they show and the station overall still have some things to improve upon but the vibe of the show and the content within I think has improved a lot; in the way that we lead into interviews, the way we conduct them and the spread of material across the three hours. Looking forward to finishing the live shows with something slightly bigger and more difficult next week. Hopefully, we can nail it.
Live Week 4
This week involved a lot more prep, setting up and troubleshooting a live stream setup as well as writing the scripts. On Friday, a few of us met in the radio block to set up the three cameras, cables and computer needed to stream the whole three hours. We also spent a lot of time debating as to which studio would be best to do this in realising throughout the afternoon that the way that the show could be best technically would be to do the whole show in ‘the kitchen’ whilst the show was driven and produced by Holly and Rhys from Studio 4. At first we were unsure how to handle the O.B. bearing in mind TieLine was only available in Studio 6. This problem was resolved by getting someone to sit in studio 6 with the timeline fader up and we would just take 6’s output from studio 4 to put it on air. Unfortunately we had to compromise on the back and forth nature that we had tried with the tease hit earlier on in the show pre-empting the fact that their would be a partially significant delay on the line that would make the conversation tough. However, for the overall sound it would be a much better way of doing it.
We also spent a lot of time setting up microphones and testing headphones/talkback set up in order to ensure we were in the best technical place for the show on Monday. We were set on the idea of using lapel mics and earpieces in order for Rhys to continue giving Kaylee and I the countdowns and info that we had done previously from the talk studio. WE started off with this setup not sounding great through studio 4 and sounding even worse over the test streams that we tried in order to make it work. After lots of time and troubleshooting we managed to make the audio quality a lot better on the Monday morning making sure that we weren’t sacrificing the radio show element of the station over the visualisation element. Jason and I spent a laborious amount of time lifting the heaviest table available to us from the other side of uni to the studio. Luckily this fit the images that Gabriel had prepared to create the kitchen scene in the end looking plush to the setting.
Over the weekend, I wrote the first two hours of script taking into account all of the notes that we had had previously from guest editors and peers. I made sure that all of our calls to action on the social media were in line with what Pulama and Gabriel had prepared in terms of online content. Kaylee took care of the final hour and once our Friday studio prep and weekend script writing was complete it was solely down to the hours we had remaining in the morning before the show.
Arriving at 9am meant we had enough time to retry the setup and make any final improvements to audio and visual quality as well as finalising any elements of the script that had changed due to song swaps or guests pulling out at the last minute. Once the set was created and we presenters were plugged in we were ready to stand up solidly for three hours.
I am happy with what achieved in the end, I enjoyed the troubleshooting and setting up of something we hadn’t tried before and the ambition/danger that came with it. Although certain things could have been improved I don’t think we did half bad bearing in mind the technical restrictions and capabilities that we had. The final product was definitely bigger and better than our work previous and the notion of stepping up to the plate to present TV and Radio simultaneously was one that I was excited to do and proud to have done; as well as preferring to keep them separate in the future.